Bitcoin Miners Are Heating Homes Free of Charge in Frigid Siberia
Hotmine CEO Oles Slobodenyuk couldn’t have picked a better place to pitch his product: a bitcoin mining rig that doubles as a home heating appliance. Irkutsk, Eastern Siberia, is famously cold in the winter when subzero temperatures are the norm. So a few weeks ago, when Slobodenyuk took the stage at the Baikal Blockchain and Crypto Forum with one of Hotmine’s little white boxes in tow, he opened with a joke about the warm August weather.
According to Slobodenyuk, each Hotmine miner performs calculations at a rate of 8 tera hashes per second (th/s). With the current price of bitcoin, he said, 1 th/s earns about $7.20 a month, so a single heater can make about $55 for its owner while radiating heat for up to 10 square meters.
While the concept itself isn’t new — last year, a French company called Qarnot announced a CPU-based mining heater that earns ether, for example – Hotmine is focusing on a region where it’s likelier to resonate. At the current prices for electricity in Irkutsk of 1-2 cents per kilowatt-hour, one heater needs less than $10 worth of power per month, so effectively the heat would be free, plus a modest income in bitcoin, Slobodenyuk said.
Even the coming halving, or periodic reduction in the amount of new bitcoin awarded to miners, won’t hurt this model, he claimed.